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The role of intervention in strategic change

Meaker, Thomas Arthur (1994). The role of intervention in strategic change. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


In spite of decades of intensive study of practically all aspects of management, it still seems to be almost impossible to complete large development projects according to originally predicted timescales and cost. Examples are the Concorde supersonic airliner, the Channel Tunnel, the Humber Bridge.

This research started with the premise that the future is not predictable, and has concentrated on addressing the life-cycle dynamics of projects involved in the development of complex systems. It has also focused on the human characteristics of organisations with initial convergence to "open systems" concepts and the need to increase orderliness with increasing complexity i.e locally decreasing entropy.

The theme that runs through the thesis is that of assessing the current risk, and the likely tendency that such risk will increase or decrease in the future, that the project will be completed according to claims made by the contractor in his Bid to the customer.

An analysis of data from four actual projects together with various subjective appraisals by managers who were involved in them, and an assessment of the current state of related knowledge, has resulted in the formulation of a new type of management method.

The "new" aspects of the method relate to its ability to take into account the dynamics of the project circumstances as the project products pass through the design, manufacturing, testing, and operating phases. This is done by "taking soundings" deep within the projects working infra-structure.

During this development a number of conventional concepts have not been used. For example, the concept that a company exists within an environment that can be represented by hard-lined diagrams has been avoided.

The method involves the use of static and dynamic risk indicators, open and closed loop systems, and the utilisation of patterns constructed from real time data to identify whether the project dynamics are in a steady state, turbulent or chaotic condition.

The method also contains an "intervention" function as a necessary element to ensure that the project and corporation strategic aspects are adequately considered.

The method has been developed in a pragmatic manner such that it can be implemented by a practising manager.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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